Business Genius

I moved to Denmark from the UK, this is my blog.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

John Banville and W.G Sebald

Tonight I went to a reading given by John Banville at Copenhagen Central Library. He spoke in a rather monotonous Irish lilt which bordered on the hypnotic. He read from his novel The Sea which won last year's Booker Prize. I'd heard of him but never read any of his novels. But I think I will now. The extract he read was lovely. It had that feeling of understated melancholy I like so much but technically it was shimmering. It takes quite a writer to infuse the quotidian with so much lyricism. Afterwards there were questions and I decided to ask what writers he admired and he settled on W.G Sebald (pictured above) as the author who'd impressed him the most in the past 20 years. I was dumbfounded as I'm reading Vertigo by the same author right now. Banville went on to describe Sebald's death several years ago in a car crash as a great loss to literature. Sebald, a German who settled in Manchester before becoming Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, has a peculiarly idiosyncratic style. He fuses personal and social exploration with travel writing and the result is more or less unique. Banville certainly thought so anyway. He said it was his belief that a 'new kind of fiction' is on the way and Sebald may well have been its precursor. Who knows. At any rate, I would certainly recommend his novels. I remember reading about his death - I think it was in 2001 - and feeling extremely sad. I'd not long read his book The Emigrants and I knew that the world had lost a special writer.


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